You’re arranging your dream marriage and an even dreamier honeymoon. When you and your partner set out to populate your wedding ceremony registry, you understand you previously have all the dishes, little appliances, and cocktail shakers you will need – just after all, you are the two grown ups. What you actually need to have is some time absent alongside one another to start your life in a unforgettable style.
Which is what occurred to Sara Margulis and her fiancé Josh when they determined to ask their marriage ceremony attendees to assistance underwrite their honeymoon in lieu of gifts. They started their individual organization to enable other folks do the exact same, and currently, Honeyfund is the most reliable funds gifting internet site. The system has allowed 6 million givers to fund more than $640 million in items for extra than one million couples. I spoke with Sara about shifting professions from promoting to tech commence-up, the Shark Tank outcome, striking out on her very own, and balancing household lifestyle with operating her very own enterprise.
Shelley Zalis: You previously labored as the affiliate director of marketing and advertising at Golden Gate University. How did you decide to make a job change and launch your personal corporation at Honeyfund? What was your lightbulb moment?
Sara Margulis: Honeyfund’s co-founder and I have been engaged to be married and planning our personal marriage, and we had this dream of honeymooning somewhere exotic and considerably absent like Fiji to get away from the anxiety of two full-time employment. But we did not have the resources immediately after having to pay for our personal marriage ceremony. So instead of registering completely for common housewares, we established a makeshift desire list for the costs connected with our Fiji honeymoon – issues like excursions, resort evenings, island hopping flights, and many others. Our wedding guests overcome us with far more than $5,000 in contributions, but extra importantly, they beloved the thought. They questioned us to make some thing like it for other couples. That is how Honeyfund was born.
I experienced just graduated with an MBA in advertising and marketing and my co-founder is a software package engineer. I had been functioning at Golden Gate University on promoting jobs these as the university’s new internet site, e-mail promoting packages, and a CRM implementation. We took the concept and enthusiasm from our have wedding guests, and all that professional qualifications, and created and introduced Honeyfund.com from our couch.
SZ: How considerably prior knowledge, if any, did you have in the startup business ahead of launching Honeyfund? How did your time on Shark Tank catapult your journey?
SM: We have been in San Francisco in the early 2000s when the know-how startup increase was going on all around us. We experienced friends at Twitter when it initially released, for example. Neither of us really had any direct experience in startups, but we could develop and regulate projects. And we both had a desire of currently being economically impartial and obtaining a adaptable timetable so we could be there for our foreseeable future little ones.
In 2013 we have been dwelling that aspiration: the enterprise was supporting our relatives and we had all the flexibility we envisioned. We experienced bought our aspiration residence and we had two healthy young children who were increasing up in an idyllic town in Sonoma County, California.
When Shark Tank referred to as, we had to make a rough decision – do we improve outside of our way of living organization and enter the entire world of a fast-growing startup? Getting on financial investment money, figuring out precisely how we wished to deploy it, figuring out how to unlock the upcoming phase of expansion – all those were being all unfamiliar to us. Beginning some thing is really diverse from growing it.
Nevertheless, we felt it was the ideal factor to do for the Honeyfund model and our member group. So we utilized for the show and obtained solid. Our episode aired in October 2013 and it was a strike! Our web-site crashed from all the visitors. We have been so thrilled to have the attention on the Honeyfund model. We realized that once men and women experienced heard of Honeyfund they beloved the idea. So our Shark Tank visual appeal and the offer with Kevin O’Leary released us on to the nationwide stage. This drove a large amount more visitors and associates, but it also brought us the notoriety to type substantial-stage partnerships, these as our registry integration with Concentrate on.
SZ: What are the advantages and cons that come with a profession transition and branching out on your own to launch a company?
SM: We have been really blessed that Honeyfund was nicely obtained and grew alone to the issue that we ended up capable to make a great residing prior to being on Shark Tank. That was period a person of the transition from doing work for somebody else to operating for ourselves. It was what we experienced dreamed of. So we felt we had been making the most of all the benefits of undertaking our possess factor.
But the business was increasing more quickly than we ended up. It required more from us. We did not have adequate personnel to serve our couples and keep the site. That introduced us into a development section that was really difficult to discover how to regulate – we didn’t have the experience there. Eventually following a prolonged and winding street, we break up up and I acquired my co-founder out of the corporation. So that period of growth arrived with a ton of strain and challenges. And I felt pulled in so numerous directions as a mother, spouse, and company owner. I stopped using treatment of myself and burned out. Then Covid strike and I faced another enormous challenge with the enterprise, this time alone at the helm. I had to acquire a extended glance in the mirror and talk to myself if I had what it normally takes to make certain Honeyfund could endure a 90% drop in revenues and a pandemic with no end in sight.
I determined to stage up and do my very best to hold the business going for its members and workforce. I invested a ton in escalating as a chief, employed a management crew to take care of the expansion, and clarified my part in the firm. We introduced a crowdfunding campaign to invite our members and present givers to invest in the company’s up coming section of development. And we obtained as a result of! But those have been some of the toughest many years of my lifetime. Being responsible for a company, a crew, and shoppers – it is a large stress at times.
Even so the possibility to mature and turn out to be the leader of some thing remarkable comes at the time in a lifetime – so the pros considerably outweigh the negatives for me. I see it as a journey and I am at any time-evolving together the way.
SZ: In the previous couple decades, there has been an escalating craze of females leaving their positions to commence their own firms throughout the Good Resignation. Dependent on your experience, is there a “right” time or are there excellent situations for a occupation adjust?
SM: The pull amongst job and family members is so complicated. In a large amount of techniques, a job with a sure range of hrs that you can leave and come property is so considerably healthier for that family balance and your private self-care than a get started-up. I would say there’s no suitable time to start your individual issue if you are passionate about it just do it. But with this a single caveat: females with partners and/or small children really should imagine extensive and challenging about the total of time and focus they want to be capable to give their spouse and children. And then dedicate what is still left to a new undertaking. Anyone will convey to you that you have to give 200% to a startup but that’s really not true. And it will lead to burnout so rapidly if you are not careful.
As an alternative, commence your enterprise with a crew that can give their comprehensive target. If you are keeping the vision and targets, you can and should really reserve time for self-treatment and your loved ones. I know this can be so tricky to achieve, but I’m a realist so I split it down like a basic math trouble. I seem at how quite a few hrs I have in a 7 days and I attempt to initially prioritize my possess self-care, then my time with my kids and husband or wife, then my do the job priorities.
I also think about the seasonality of my enterprise and my children’s university. Summer time is a wonderful time to be equipped to give a very little much more to children and a minimal considerably less to the enterprise. But if you are commencing a business enterprise (like mine) that has significant summer season requires it could be difficult. The essential is receiving very real with yourself about how numerous several hours of focus you are eager to give to a new venture.
SZ: What tips would you give to women of all ages seeking to change their profession but who come to feel discouraged or doubtful of where to start out?
SM: I would say start out with a shift toward the field or techniques you want to discover and get really fantastic at those people even though performing for anyone else with continuous get the job done hrs, gains, and pay. Or sign up for a volunteer organization. At the time you are confident in your capabilities and know particularly how you will control your time and concentration, then set up your new enterprise inside of individuals parameters.